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J.B. Watkins Elementary School - Midlothian, VA

Data Source:

School NameAddressPhoneGradesCountyTypeDistrict Name
J.B. Watkins Elementary School501 Coalfield Rd.
Midlothian, VA 23114
(804) 378-2530PK-5ChesterfieldpublicChesterfield County Public Schools

School Head OfficialYear
Dr. Marlene Scott2009

Students Getting Free LunchYear
10%2009

DateWhoComments
9/22/2012parentWe just moved to the area and did ALOT of research on the schools. I have one at Watkins in 3rd grade and onein Middle school. The new addition is wonderful and the school is really starting to look fantastic. I cannot comment on the trailer situation as my child happens to be in one of the new classrooms. l highly agree with the previous post about the teachers being the most important and not the 4 walls. I am enjoying the wonderful staff and the very involved parents at this school. We have been made to feel very welcome.
9/21/2012parentWe moved here with two elementary aged kids. "Good schools" was what we were looking for. We heard and read that JB Watkins was a great school. Well, if you think 30 students in a detached tiny trailer classroom with very loud air conditioning units is a stimulating environment. I would like to say that the teachers and staff make up for the horribly cramped space but I can't say that is true. After listening to both teachers at back to school night - I am very unimpressed. Huge focus on SOL's (standardized testing), "advanced" or "gifted" classes and AR - accelerated reading programs. The staff is not receptive to any opinions and are defensive about the cramped situation. One of our teachers writes in cursive - I mentioned that my child doesn't read cursive, as it isn't a necessary curriculum for this generation, the teacher said . "Yes, several students have mentioned this but they need to learn to read it some time." Their home work is written on a white board in cursive and to tell you the truth - I can't even read what it says. If you move here - keep your expectations very low - along with your taxes. You get what you pay for.
8/25/2012parentI am a middle school teacher in the same county, so I am especially critical. Even so, I could not be more happy with my choice to send my daughter to J.B. Watkins. Time and again, I have witnessed the staff at this school put her physical safety and emotional needs first. This school provides an open and caring community that welcomes students and parents. The education she is receiving is as good as it gets in public education. I personally check the surrounding elementary schools (Weaver, Gordon, Evergreen, Robious) on a periodic basis, and J.B. Watkins has the best teachers and an administrative staff that meets the needs of students, staff, and parents. I could not be more impressed with this school. At the halfway point of my daughter's elementary career, I believe that this is the best environment to meet her needs in every way. Thank you, J.B. Watkins staff. You are stellar, and we are so fortunate to be a part of your community.
5/30/2012parentRE: The May 24 post ... I moved into the JB Watkins school zone specifically for the school and WOULD NOT change that decision if given a re-do. The school is not in decline as was suggested -- it is in improvement. The school is overcrowded because it is a desirable school -- parents move into the zone because they want their children to go to this school. The teachers are wonderful and the administration is supportive. There is an addition ongoing to help accommodate student growth, and scores remain consistent and among the best in the county. According to the state, testing pass rates range from 93-98 percent. That's an A on the county's grading scale. I've had children in trailers and found them to be more conducive to learning because there are not the associated distractions that come from hallways. Besides, everyone knows it's the teachers that make the difference when it comes to instruction ... not the four walls. And JB Watkins has GREAT teachers. Go Coalminers!
5/24/2012parentNegatives: First the school now has 1050 students and is at 130% capacity. The back of the school contains 11 trailers; 10 single and 1 mega (6 classrooms) and next year there will be only 3, however 2 will be mega (6 & 8 classrooms). An addition is currently being built to include eight new classrooms, a new music room, new art room and new front office however the principal has decided to keep a third of the students in trailers. The teachers are amazing and doing what they can and more, considering the circumstances. The principal refuses to listen to the concerns of parents, stating that it's the school's business and not that of parents. The school is old and in need of many upgrades. Class sizes are too large. Positives: Again, the teachers are wonderful, Chinese is taught from K-5, it's a "children's engineering and design technology school" which means there are a lot of hands-on, creative juices flowing. There is good parent involvement & a very active PTA & many fun events. Unfortunately until the overcrowding is addressed this school and it's test scores will continue to decline and sadly help is way off. I do not recommend moving here for this school.
3/19/2012parentWe moved to the neighborhood because we were told this was the best school. We are now in 3rd grade and it is not going well. They spend too much time on the SOL's. How about just teaching math/science/reading! We had our child tested to go to a private school. He is too far behind. They do not want him. He lacked the basic math/reading skills that the students in the other school had. VERY VERY UPSET. We have tried and tried to get through to the higher ups at this school and we are just getting nowhere. I will say there are 2 teachers who are excellent, but otherwise, we are not impressed.
10/9/2011parentThe staff is very helpful and the teachers are open to communicating with you, if you have any concerns for your child. It is my opinion that this school is overcrowded. It's not just a school problem but a county-wide problem. My daughter has been at this school for 3 years and I think that the curriculum could be a little more challenging. I feel that the teachers are so hard pressed to score well on SOL's, that it becomes their main focus. Which is not ideal if you want your child to be able to grasp things on a cognitive level. The PTA is very strong in the school and are in tune with the needs of the school, as well as the children. Overall, it has been a good experience for my child. She loves her school.
8/10/2010parentAn amazing school. The teachers and administration are child-focused and worked hard to give my child a wonderful start in his education. This school also encourages children's creative side through design challenges and Chinese language instruction.
8/3/2010parentMy daughter has been at this school for 4 years and I am not happy with the school at all. The curriculum is not challenging, the teachers do not differentiate the curriculum and they tend to watch a lot of movies.
5/14/2010parentMy has had an awesome 6 years in this school. I could not have asked for a better grade school education for him!
10/4/2009parentI really think JB Watkins cares about their students.
6/15/2009parentThe Principal, teachers and staff at Watkins have been wonderfully supportive of my childrens' learning needs. They take the time to hear from parents and offer a collaborative atmosphere. Parental involvement is super. Our family is very pleased with our school.
5/27/2009parentExcellent school with a staff that is very easy to work with as well as showing concern for the students.
1/7/2009parentTHe school is excellent!!! Student dicipline and safety, large amounts of resources, extracurricular activites, etc. make it a very good school. In addition, of all the elementary schools ive been to, it is a very advanced school in all subjects. = )
9/2/2008parentI have been along for the educational journey of 4 children through this excellent school. I currently have a special needs child enrolled and I am constantly impressed with the staff's attitude and dedication . I can't praise this school enough! The faculty goes out of it's way to make each child feel special and the leadership is superior. This school encourages parental involvement and provides many opportunities for the entire family to participate. You walk in the door and know that this school's philosophy is 'The children come first'...Love it!
1/24/2008parentThe school is less overcrowded than others in the area however still suffers from that. Despite the PTA making efforts at preventing teachers statewide from taking recess the teachers at JB Watkins regularly use recess for punishments or extra work. There is a security system of a sort but the badges and sign in book are completely unmonitored - often it's difficult to get any assistance in the offic - this renders the so-called security system a nuisance without any benefit to the students. The students have fewer opportunitiues for field trips than other area schools and far less homework - that might be good or bad for you.
10/4/2007parentI could not ask for a better learning environment for my son. He was tested last year in 2nd grade for a learning disability and has received the help and skills he needs to overcome his difficulties. I don't believe another school and/or school district would have handled this as well as it was handled here at Watkins.
10/19/2006parentI have had four children pass through the halls of J.B. Watkins and it has been a wonderful experience. Great teachers who care, academic programs that matter, and overall environment.
9/10/2006parentWe've been here since day 1 and I couldn't be happier with all the teachers and staff. They are wonderful, caring, accepting people and my daughter feels very loved and respected there. She is in 5th grade this year and is already sad to be leaving Watkins next year but we will always make time to stop by and say hello. What a wonderful experience! Thank you all, teachers, students and parents alike! Leta Whitehead
5/27/2006parentEverything about the school has been wonderful. Teachers and administration are top notch.
8/22/2004parentWe just moved to the area from Mississippi and found the adjustment went just wonderfully. The teachers knew exactly how to make the adjustment comfortable without excess pressure. My son maintains good grades. Thank you so very much.
3/21/2004parentIt's a good school, but too many minority children who are capable of doing honors level work are sent to middle school C-level tracks.
9/27/2003parentWonderful school. High quality teachers who are very caring with students. The administration and most teachers are very open to parents visiting the classrooms at any time. As well you are always welcome to eat lunch with your student. They welcome a lot of parent involvement in classroom and outside of activities. There's 1 or 2 lunchroom helpers that can scare even the parents! But outside of that is a great enviroment for school.


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